Scotland's leading composer has accused the SNP Government of using its cultural policy to shore up support for independence, out of fear of a resurgent Labour Party.

James MacMillan said the Scottish Government's creative vision was one of "venality, victimhood and mediocrity," and equated a proposed national culture strategy to "naked government attempts to control arts and culture in many societies in the past century".

Writing in the Times newspaper today, he argues such endeavours have a "very dishonourable history".

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Mr MacMillan argues that having enjoyed widespread support in the artistic community at the time of the independence referendum, the SNP is panicked by the possibility of a Labour Party resurgence under Jeremy Corbyn, and is "frantically trying to keep its artsy stormtroopers onside".

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop is doing this, he claims, with increased funding for Creative Scotland and "ambiguous" offers to safeguard central funding for the arts. But a consultation meeting with senior figures in the arts world had focused on the role the arts could play in creating "common understandings" of Scottishness and resistance to Brexit.

"Does politician-led government strategy now supersede the one from the artist-involved Creative Scotland?" Mr MacMillan writes. "A truly arts-friendly government would trust the artistic instincts of the practitioners, rather than pressurise them into the "national" project of the present ruling political tribe. No other country with thriving contemporary artistic cultures... has this degree of political interference and messing about from on high. The first thing they need to learn is how to get out of the way."

Claiming that the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn government at Westminster provides the alternative of a "progressive" UK, the composer said that this would obviate the need for an independent Scotland in the minds of many in the arts world, adding: "Ever since Corbyn came on the scene, fissures of doubt have opened up in the nationalist firmament."

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, Claire Baker said:

“Sir James MacMillan’s comments will make uncomfortable reading for the Government and civil servants in St Andrews house. We must be clear that arts and culture in Scotland must be allowed to flourish free from Government interference.”

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The Scottish Government has pledged to deliver a Culture Strategy for Scotland and says it is consulting with artists, cultural organisations and communities across the country to determine what it should contain. It says the strategy "will position culture as having intrinsic value and contributing both directly and indirectly to the health, wealth and success of our nation, defining Scotland as a diverse and distinct society with creativity and innovation at its heart."